Plan your gathering well in advance. Take the time to sit down with a favorite beverage and plan.
1.Make sure cleaning is priority number 1. Clean and purge a little at a time. No one wants their host(ess) exhausted because she was up until the wee hours the night before stashing and scrubbing. This also isn’t the time for major redecorating, like painting walls or re-carpeting Even though you haven’t invited people over to inspect your home, you know they are going to (why is that?). So, do the basics, give them only a place that has been blessed with your TLC & your best effort. If you plan well in advance a crisis cleaning won’t be necessary. Make it a habit, as you finish using something put it away, right away. As you use a utensil or dish wash it immediately. Use your washer as a hamper & start it & finish it quickly. Play beat the clock (timer) with yourself. If you make it fun it will get done. Before purchasing decorations or food clean & then keep it clean until your party. And remember a little goes a long way. For example, keep a bottle of glass cleaner & a roll of paper towel in your bathroom. Every day wipe down your mirror, vanity, toilet & maybe while you’re in the shower you scrub it a little. And wa-la no more hour long cleaning session in your bathroom, just a quick mop to the floor. Don’t go empty handed to another room. If something needs to be returned, return it. Don’t play martyr, & don’t sweat the small stuff either. If you want something done do it & do it happily, others will catch on or not, in any case you’ll be happy.
2. Plan the day & time. And give people notice, invites, or a heads up what you are planning. Don’t try to please everyone, the date or time might not work for all invited, just plan to see them another time (if it’s important). No one said we had to celebrate at any specific time or day. What’s important is you get to celebrate each other in however & whenever you choose.
3. Plan the food. Make a menu that is doable. And if Martha Stewart is coming ask her to bring a dish. As a matter of fact ask everyone to bring something or find ways to get already made items at the grocery store. Make only what you are comfortable making. Buy what is on your menu as you grocery shop throughout the weeks before the event. Obviously you have to wait to buy fresh produce, but other items can be purchased on a weekly basis so your budget doesn’t take a huge hit.
4. Decorations. make sure before buying anything you check to see what you already have. Maybe on the last holiday or celebration you had some you saved. It isn’t a bad idea to record, whether in a journal or calendar, the left over items & where you stored them. Maybe a strand of lights didn’t work so this year you need another set. Go through what you have & make a list of what you need. Plan your shopping accordingly.
5. Decorate. Once you have all the items you’ll need plan your decorating day(s). You can do a little at a time if it will be elaborate, like Christmas. Do 15 minutes at a time or plan a day to complete it & be reasonable & take into account all other activities going on. Whatever you decide do it sensibly, again if you feel the need to go overboard ask yourself, who are you trying to impress? This year go for, good enough.
6. Gifts. Plan the gifts & plan to buy a little at a time. Again, this isn’t the place to break the bank. Heartfelt gifts go further, memories & the way people felt is what is long remembered. Think back, what do you remember? The harried hostess who never sat down, & bought you a label maker you left behind? Or the gracious hostess who made you feel warm & welcome, with her attention & laughter, & the gift of opening her heart & home to you?
7. Take the time to remember you. If you neglect your needs you may find resentment building or the fun aspect no where to be found. That is why it is important to take the time to plan. Plan out what is truly special & important to you. Ask your immediate family what is special & important to them & let go of what isn’t, instead add a bubble bath or massage in its place. There is no contest to be won, nor is there any competition you’re in, instead focus on cooperation, peace & FUN!
8. Let go of Perfection! There is no such thing so you are going after something that doesn’t even exist. Stop it! I assure you you are enough. You are a blessing just as you are, just as your house is, just the way that it is. Accept it. With a plan in place & carried out you will make progress to create a new stress-free memory.
Peace to all!